NY Times Quietly Updates Debunked Story on Police Officer Brian Sicknick's Death
Paper updates story after smearing MAGA with false claims
After the New York Times reported that Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick tragically lost his life after being struck in the head with a fire extinguisher, the claim was circulated by the establishment media as fact.
But the story was supported by an account of just "two law enforcement officials."
The Times reported at the time:
"At some point in the chaos — with the mob rampaging through the halls of Congress while lawmakers were forced to hide under their desks — he was struck with a fire extinguisher, according to two law enforcement officials."
Later in February, new reports surfaced suggesting the claim that Sicknick died from being struck by a fire extinguisher was false.
So now, after weeks of MAGA being blamed for the officer's death, media outlets are now backtracking.
Because of lack of evidence, even prosecutors are struggling to build a federal murder case in Sicknick's death.
CNN reported there is a "lack of evidence that could prove someone caused his death."
Authorities have reviewed video and photographs that show Sicknick engaging with rioters amid the siege but have yet to identify a moment in which he suffered his fatal injuries, law enforcement officials familiar with the matter said.
According to one law enforcement official, medical examiners did not find signs that the officer sustained any blunt force trauma, so investigators believe that early reports that a fire extinguisher fatally struck him are not true.
The New York Times then quietly retracted claims about Sicknick's death with an editor's note at the top of the story.
"UPDATE: New information has emerged regarding the death of the Capitol Police officer Brian Sicknick that questions the initial cause of his death provided by officials close to the Capitol Police," the note reads.
The update came 10 days after reports that Sicknick did not die from blunt force trauma.
The Times' story now stated:
"Law enforcement officials initially said Mr. Sicknick was struck with a fire extinguisher, but weeks later, police sources and investigators were at odds over whether he was hit. Medical experts have said he did not die of blunt force trauma, according to one law enforcement official."
In a statement, The Capitol Police said Sicknick was "injured while physically engaging with protesters. He returned to his division office and collapsed. He was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries."
ABC News reported on the same day the Times made its original claim that "authorities believe Sicknick's death was driven by a medical condition."
Sicknick's brother told ProPublica that he spoke with his brother after the riot.
"He texted me last night and said, 'I got pepper-sprayed twice,' and he was in good shape," Ken Sicknick said.
"Apparently, he collapsed in the Capitol, and they resuscitated him using CPR."
But it's even unclear when, where, and if Sicknick was even rushed to the hospital.
As Revolver reported:
Sicknick texted his own brother Ken that very night he was basically fine, other than being “pepper-sprayed twice,” confirming he was safe and “in good shape.”
Then, an odd thing happened. The next afternoon, the Sicknick family began getting phone calls that Officer Brian Sicknick had been declared dead.
The phone calls didn’t come from the hospital. They didn’t come from the treating physicians. They didn’t come from the US Capitol Police, or the FBI, or the DOJ.
But then the story got stranger. In a dark, twisted echo of Monty Python’s “bring out your dead” scene, it turned out Sicknick was not dead yet.
The US Capitol Police responded in a public statement late that Thursday evening that swirling media reports were untrue. Sicknick was still alive.
One hour later, as Sicknick’s family rushed to the hospital to see what they believed was their beloved Brian still fighting for his life, the US Capitol Police issued a further statement: now Sicknick was dead.
But even that statement contained a curious detail: Ken Sicknick had been told his brother collapsed inside the Capitol building, then was rushed to the hospital. Wikipedia’s entry on Sicknick still has this as the official story.